• American Idol: A Marketing Juggernaut

    Didn't we just finish yet another season of American Idol?  So why are we blogging about it?  Auditions for the 2012 season have already begun and have been going on for nearly a month.  For those not familiar with American Idol, it is a reality TV show featuring a singing competition that lasts for weeks.  It usually begins in January and runs for several months.  Since its first season in 2002, it has become one of the most popular and successful reality TV shows in American television history.  How is success defined?  In this case, it has earned billions of dollars for its producers and its sponsors.  It has also "discovered" superstar talent, such as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and Chris Daughtry.  Sometimes, contestants other than the winners enjoy as much or more success than do the winners.  Such is the case with Chris Daughtry and Adam Lambert.

    So how is American Idol related to marketing?  Well, it is a product with a highly successful promotional campaign that has made it wildly popular.  Corporate giants with nearly bottomless pockets have signed on as sponsors for American Idol.  Coca-Cola and the Air Force Reserves are sponsoring the latest American Idol "Live" Tour.  It's not often that a U.S. government agency (Air Force Reserves) is willing to be connected with a single entity, like American Idol.  At the latest count, American Idol now has 45 corporate and government sponsors.  American Idol continues to dominate its time slots, making it "worth it" for its sponsors.

    What makes American Idol so popular year after year?

    1. It is TiVo proof.  There is something about watching it in real time that makes the consumer feel a part of something. 

    2. Its personalities persevere.  Call it casting if you want, but the judges, along with the host, are likable, or at least intersting, characters from season to season.

    3. It is water cooler worthy.  Some episodes are worth talking about at work the next day.

    4.  It has a knack for delivering a participatory viewer.  By allowing the public to vote, consumers feel more involved and buy into the show more completely.

    5.   It has delivered.  American Idol has delivered legitimate music superstars.

    6.  It is family-friendly.  American Idol appeals to people of many ages and even conservative parents don't have to be too cautious about letting their kids watch.

    Read more: http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/9618.asp

  • Black Friday in July, or Anytime

    One of the best ways to effectively jump-start awareness and interest in your business is to hold a grand opening. A successful grand opening can often result in a level of  sales and revenue that otherwise might have been much longer in the making. A well-desgined and executed grand opening can greatly assist the launch of a new business. A previous blog described the grand opening of an IKEA store in the Denver, CO, area where promoters had done such an outstanding job of creating hype, plans had to be made to handle vast crowds and the resulting traffic problems, parking problems, crowd control, etc.  This is the kind of event that had made Black Friday famous in the United States.

    Keys to successfully creating a successful grand opening go beyond a mere ribbon-cutting approach.  Though excessive amounts of inventory to be given away free is not necessary, consumers always like gimmicks, give aways, and other features usually only found at the circus, carnivals, or grand openings.  Small businesses may elect to have a bounce house for kids along with free hot dogs and hamburgers.  Balloons are always fun and appeal to a general group of consumers.  The trick is to have something for everyone.  Alerting media and having a unique and fun approach to the traditionally stodgy ribbon-cutting will also attract a lot of attention. Invite the media and local dignitaries.

    chickfilacow

    One large company that has the grand opening of a store down to a formulaic science is Chick-fil-A.  The first 100 people into a new Chick-fil-A restaurant win free Chick-fil-A for a year.  A grand opening for this company features people willing to wait in line for 24-48 hours to be among the first into the new location.  Some people travel around the country to attend these grand openings, even in bitter cold weather or hot and humid weather.  They have free Chick-fil-A for their whole lives, or at least for as long as they are willing to keep doing this insanity.  Oh, and the company does feed you while you wait in line and also provides some entertainment.

    Walmart_Logo

    Walmart is another retail giant known for fantastic grand openings.  On the first day of business in a new Walmart store, you can expect an opening at around 7AM.  You can expect local dignitaries, free food, unusually good sales to rival the sales on Black Friday, local sports celebrities signing autographs, etc.

    These retail giants are not the only ones who do a great job of hyping a grand opening.  Small, local companies can also have very successful grand openings.  A small chocolatier in Charlotte, NC, recently conducted a successful grand opening.  On the opening day, the company successfully gave away four sheet cakes, a piece at a time, 30 pounds of chocolate mousse, four full chocolate almond pate logs covered with caramel sauce, and over 300 chocolate truffles.  Were all these freebies worth it?  In this case, yes.  Sales have continued strong for the small company and people still remark they discovered the place by attending the grand opening.

    Forman Mills, a discount fashion retailer opened a store recently.  The company decided to create a week of grand opening excitement and activities that began with a press conference-VIP Event in the newly completed store.  The press, mayors of local towns, and other local and state officials attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Other activities included radio and TV station remotes throughout the weekend, jazz bands, drill teams, tumblers, autograph sessions with famous Chicago sports dignitaries and much more.  Additionally, a customer opinion survey was circulated that would help the company identify key sales, media and branding elements as they plan to open more stores in the Chicago area.

    Possible benefits to the companies holding the grand openings are obvious.  Benefits to customers are also obvious in the form of free or discounted products, getting opportunities to meet celebrities, and just feeling part of something big.  Large and small companies are increasingly recognizing the importance of this Black Friday type of hype.  So, if you don't mind crowds and if you crave free and discounted products, watch for a grand opening near you.

    Read more:  http://www.franchiseknowhow.com/articles/grand-opening-tips.htm

  • Hype or Genius? The Grand Opening of IKEA in Denver, CO

    When IKEA opens its doors tomorrow (Wednesday, July 27) at 9:00am in Centennial, Colorado, a detailed plan is in place to handle event-associated traffic, parking, crowds, etc.  This is a furniture store, not an NFL football game.  What is the big deal?  For this store's grand opening, IKEA is planning an event similar to what you would see on Black Friday.  It is planning thousands of dollars in giveaways and will be having a kickoff ceremony featuring Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, Centennial, Colorado Mayor Cathy Noon, and IKEA U.S. President Mike Ward.  The store allowed customers to start lining up at 9:00am yesterday (Monday), 48 hours before the store opens. Why would people want to do something like that?  It's a furniture store. Well, the first 38 customers to enter the store tomorrow will receive a sofa and the next 100 customers will be awarded an armchair.  The first 2,500 will receive a gift certificate of random amounts from $10 to $250, or maybe a food voucher of some sort.  Yes, IKEA has a restaurant inside and reportedly, it is quite good.  People with proof that their birthday is tomorrow will receive a gift certificate for $52.80, Denver's elevation.

  • The Increasing Challenges for Today's Marketing Majors

    "I don't like numbers and math, but I want to major in business, so I'm going to major in marketing."  Similar statements seem to be common among marketing students.  Another common theme many professors are noting is that marketing students cannot communicate well.  What is there about marketing that suggests there will be no math?  Even more puzzling is the question asking the same about communication.  The unsolvable mystery is how these students get these strange ideas into their heads.

    A recent publication identifies a number of areas in which marketing majors might find jobs, as listed below.

  • Advertising
  • Brand Management
  • Channel Management
  • Marketing Research
  • Marketing Communications
  • Marketing Strategy Development
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Pricing
  • Promotions Management
  • Product Management
  • Public Relations
  • Retailing
  • Sales and Sales Management

    In the above list, math skills are required for advertising, brand management, channel management, marketing research, marketing communications, marketing strategy development, social media marketing, pricing, promotion managment, product management, public relations, retailing, and sales and sales management.  Wait, math skills are required for all areas of marketing?  Yes.  The same goes for communication skills.  Looking at the above list more objectively, the obvious areas where math skills are required are marketing research and pricing.  However, when skills such as promotional budgeting, sales forecasting, media cost, return on investment, media frequency and reach, brand equity, customer satisfaction, salesperson compensation, clicks per month for social media marketing, etc., are considered, it becomes clear that math skills are necessary in all areas.  Further, since the main objective in all promotional acitivities is communication, this is also a critical skill for marketing majors to develop and maintain.
  • In today's economy, if you, the marketing major, do not have these skills, you are the same as most other marketing majors and will be competing on an equal basis in a very competitive job market.  Why not develop these skills while still in school to increase your chances of being hired?  While it is common for today's marketing student to avoid math and statistics classes, perhaps the new approach should be to minor, or even double major, in math or statistics.  Imagine how much more competitive you would be in this challenging job market?  By minoring in math or statistics, or at least by taking extra classes in those areas, marketing students will immediately launch themselves above more than 90 percent of other marketing students.  Maybe it's time we fought back so we are no longer known as the non-quantitative business discipline.

    Read more: http://www.biz.colostate.edu/undergraduatePrograms/academicPrograms/Pages/marketing.aspx

     

  • Is "Going Viral" in Marketing an Accident?

    Viral marketing refers to using existing social networking sites to produce "buzz" about a brand, a product, an advertisement, or some other marketing component of an organization.  In the internet world, "going viral" means becoming very popular in a very short period of time.  For example, you have probably heard about YouTube videos going viral.  A viral video is one that becomes quickly popular through the process of internet sharing, and with the growing popularity and capabilities of mobile phones, this is happening more often than ever, and quicker than ever.

    Since going viral means achieveing a lot of popularity in a short amount of time, the strategy for marketers using this technique would be short-term in nature.  Vidoes on YouTube often go viral without any expectations from the people who post them.  Going viral is often accidental rather than planned.  So, how do marketers create this very short-term buzz about something to do with their company, products, etc?  The goal of marketers interested in creating this sensation should be to produce some component of their marketing mix that will have great appeal for individuals with high social networking potential.  If these individuals can be reached and touched, many of them have mulitple electronic tools to spread the word very quickly.  They have mobile phones, all the Apple products, PCs, etc.

    In the past, this sort of marketing strategy was known as word-of-mouth.  The way it used to work was a consumer would have a good experience with a product and then tell another person.  That other person would then obtain the product, have a favorable experience, and tell others, and so forth.  The process was not considered to be a short-term strategy, but was rather recognized as something that may take awhile.  Now, put this idea into hyper-drive, and you have yourself a successful viral marketing strategy.  Marketers have to convince those consumers with high social networking potential that the word should be spread immediately, before the product is even purchased and tried.  It is still going to be somewhat up to chance that this sort of marketing campaign will actually go viral, but as marketers get better at social media marketing and identifying those influential members of social networks, this strategy will become more and more viable.

    Read more:  http://www.wilsonweb.com/wmt5/viral-principles.htm

    Read even more:  http://www.allfacebook.com/9-secrets-to-successful-facebook-viral-marketing-2011-07

  • Marketers, Beware when Using Social Media Marketing

    Like it or not, marketers have invaded social networking websites.  Once used by individuals to connect with others, these individuals have formed large networks of people who are similar in many ways.  To marketers, these large networks of similar individuals look like huge market segments filled with potential customers of their products.  So, we shouldn't be surprised that marketers have found ways to use social networking sites to market products.  This practice is known at social media marketing (SMM) and has become so pervasive that companies not doing it are perceived to be missing out on a large proportion of their potential sales.  The new rule of thumb in some industries is " refuse to use social media marketing at your own risk."

    While many of these sites are free to use for individuals, they are not free for companies.  And these marketing costs are increasing dramatically.  For example, it is estimated that the cost of advertising on Facebook has risen by nearly 75% so far this year (in cost per click).  (Read more: http://www.marketingweek.co.uk/disciplines/advertising/cost-of-facebook-advertising-rises-74/3028521.article.)  These rising costs of SMM mean that companies are shifting their advertising resources from traditional media (TV, radio, newspaper, magazine) to this non-traditional medium.

    Over the few short years that marketers have been using SMM, the gains in sales, brand recognition, and other typical marketing goals have been great.  But by making costly mistakes, marketers have discovered some important things that should not be done.  Some of these important lessons are listed below.

  • Marketers' Invasion of Social Networking

    A social network is merely a social structure of individuals connected by some commonality, such as friendship, kinship, sexual preference, ethnicity, age, religion, hobbies, relationship status, values, beliefs, etc.  To a marketer, these commonalities look suspiciously like common bases of consumer segmentation.  By collecting these individuals together into a social network based on these commonalities, these sites are providing a resource that makes marketers lick their chops in anticipation.  To collect so much information on consumers, marketers spent much time and money in the past.  Now, the work is done and all marketers have to do is to somehow tap into these resources.  Being the profit-driven entities that they are, these social networking sites are only too eager to let marketers invade their sites, for a fee.  And the results to marketers are huge market segments.

    Just take Facebook for example.  There are more than 650 million active users.  Ten million users per month are joining.  One in every thirteen people on earth are members of Facebook.  Nearly 50% of young Americans rely on Facebook for news.  Nearly 50% of 18 to 34 year old Americans check Facebook when they first wake up in the morning.  Nearly 75% of all American internet users are members of Facebook.  So this is fine for marketers who are targeting young adults, right? Yes, right, but what about the older consumers?  Nearly one-third of all Facebook users are over the age of 35.  Okay, so that covers the U.S. market, right?  Yes, but what about the international market?  More than 70% of all Facebook users are from outside the United States.  So what is there about these social networking sites that marketers don't like?  Probably nothing.  (See more Facebook facts at http://www.jeffbullas.com/2011/04/28/50-fascinating-facebook-facts-and-figures/)

    Okay, this is old news for marketers.  They have been using social networking sites for years now.  So what have we learned over these few short years?  We have learned that not using social networking to market a product should not be an option.  Customers are increasingly searching online and want to find their brands of interest where it's convenient for them to browse, share and buy.  We have also learned the reasons that consumers discuss products on social networking sites (see the chart below).  What have we learned thatmarketers shouldn't do with social networking?  Stay tuned for the next blog.

    Why People Discuss products in social

  • Can Banning Kids Be Good For Business?

    I can't say that I was surprised when a story appeared in the national news about a restaurant in Pennsylvania that has banned the presence of children under six. Indeed, the "right to refuse service" we see on so many storefronts has been enacted! Ironically, the owner is a former high school teacher, and he says for many years he has been fielding complaints from customers about the disturbance caused by children and unattentive parents  before he decided to take this high-profile measure. Obviously this move has touched many nerves across the country both for and against, but as marketers, we must put aside our biases and ask the question, "Will this move be good or bad for business?"

    A poll on a Pittsburg TV channel's website found that out of 10,000 voters, 64% supported the idea and 26% thought it was a bad idea. In addition, the owner reports that rather than receiving hate mail and threatening comments, folks have spoke out 11 to 1 in favor of his decision. Obviosuly, Internet surverys are not acceptable for statistical analysis in a pure research sense, but they do provide information as to the direction of public opinion. And, the owner's perspective is purely anecdotal. However, I believe that this story is the first of many more to come. Why?

    It's really very simple. Baby boomers (aged 46-66) are the largest generation in history (with the exception of their Generation Y children who are a bit larger but are not yet having children en masse) and are the biggest reason we keep hearing about "the aging of America". Older people may love their grandchildren but have traditionally shown little tolerance for energetic young ones running wild through "inappropriate" places. In customer service/hospitality we call this phenomenon "Guest Conflict". Quite simply, it seldom works out when you seat people with children in the same vicinity as invididuals or couples without children. The same general rule applies to large groups of loud people, which can be equally disruptive. Since businesses want people to enjoy themselves, tell their friends, and return, they obviously don't want guests arguing and fighting, it's up to management to take steps to prevent this. It's sad how few restaurants understand this simple concept. Certain states even ban children from bar areas while, somehow, other states let them belly right up alongside their parents. I expect this to change. And since older people also control much of the country's wealth and influence, I would expect that they will continue to assert their collective will on society, and thus the social norms for where children are welcome may change.

    There are many more reasons why I think that this idea can work, barring any discrimination court cases that may arise. The simple fact is that not all guests are alike, and when your product or service appeals to a broad group of consumers (as is often the case in food service business models), there will be conflict. Sports stadiums attempt to address this by offering "Family Sections" and of course we are all aware of places like Chuck E. Cheese that cater exclusively to families. I would expect that many businesses that target the rapidly growing segment of people without children will experiment with such policies. Will it stand up in court? That's another story.

    Here is an article from the Wall Street Journal:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304223804576444393604792386.html

  • Why All the Summer Deals?

    It is imperative for the marketing practitioner to understand why companies, particularly retailers, engage in sales promotions (such as discounting) at certain times of year. Indeed we are all used to the "festival of discounts" that begins shortly before Thankgsgiving and extends well past the first of the year. Black Friday, the day after thanksgiving and the day that retailers theoretically become profitable, has become a national holiday, with people foregoing Thanksgiving activities to line up for limited supply bargains the night before. A bit much if you ask me!

    The primary reason for discounting is to stimulate a purchase. The most effective way to get a person to adopt a product is to encourage him/her to try it. A discount does just this, but if the consumer does not perceive positive value from the transaction, they are not only unlikely to buy the product again, but certainly wouldn't purchase it at the regular, un-discounted price after the promotion expires.

    Another huge reason involves inventories. As you know, manufacturers make products and often sell them through retailers rather than directly to the consumer. Therefore both parties must make projections as to how much they think they can sell, and as you might imagine, these projections are rather imperfect. Both the branded product manufacturers and retailers must offer incentives to alleviate excess inventory.

    Why is excess inventory a bad thing?

    1.  Inventory ties up cash flow that could otherwise be used for business operations and marketing

    2.  Inventory is often perishable and can expire on the shelves. Such spoilage costs are most often absorbed by the manufacturer (usually the weaker member of the supply chain) rather than the more influential retailer (who is closer to the consumer)

    3. Inventory gets stolen, a phenomenon that we call shrinkage, and broken, and phenomenon we call carelessness

    4. Inventory costs money to store, keep at appropriate temperatures, insure, etc.

    Obviously if you don't have enough inventory, you will lose customers. Too much or too little inventory is known as the "Bullwhip Effect" and is a factor marketers are constantly concerned about. Similarly, marketers must be concerned with over discounting for the reasons mentioned above. We don't often think of inventory when we think of marketing, but it is indeed a major part of product strategy and supply chain management.

  • Heating Up the Market for Soup

     

     

    Can the market for soup become exciting again? I realize that it's 102 degrees outside so, for most of us, it's difficult for us as consumers to think of soup in July. However, as strategic marketers, summer is exactly the time to be thinking about soup. U.S. soup sales have been flat for years despite the high profile advertising efforts of General Mills' Progresso brand and, according to the Wall St. Journal, are indeed down 5% this year from the previous year. This is not a good sign.

    It is unclear as to the exact reasons for this overall industry slump, but one major variable is all too clear to the new CEO and the marketing folks over at Campbell Soup's New Jersey headquarters. There has been a significant lack of investment in the brand over the past several years. We know that organizations must allocate appropriate marketing dollars to generate revenue, so it should be no surprise to students of the profession that when a company fails to invest in its brand, the result should be a loss of market share and a reduction in sales growth. This is exactly what has happened. Couple this with an over-emphasis on low sodium soups (a strategy employed to address the growing health and wellness trend that has not gone as well as had been anticipated) and you have a brand that needs serious attention. Indeed Progresso, with its significant investment in national advertising, has exploited this weakness and has grabbed market share.

    Although Campbell has already announced some strategy changes, including ending an overeliance on margin-busting sales promotions, investing in brand-building advertising, and trying to appeal to a younger demographic. These all sound like good moves, but this author believes that the fact that the company's advertising budget is a fraction of what it was two years ago ($125 million less), is probably the biggest culprit here. We saw what happened to Pepsi over the last few years as the company strategically pulled back on important national advertising campaigns (including the Superbowl) to focus on less expensive public relations efforts--the Refresh America Campaign. This effort has so far been a failure perhaps due in part to Pepsi's over-focus on "good for you" foods rather than the tasty products we usually associate with the Pepsi brand. The reduction in advertising has hurt both Pepsi and Cambell in similar ways.

    What's the lesson? Reducing marketing expenditures may result in better profitability and return on investment for shareholders in the short run, but long term implications can really hurt your brand. Why invest millions to develop brand awareness and attitudes over several years, only to pull back and lose the groud you spent so much time and money gaining?

    Thought Question:

    Bearing in mind that simply spending marketing dollars can be a huge waste of money, what marketing strategies would you employ if you were Campbell's VP of Marketing?

  • Deals, Deals Everywhere

    There is little doubt that the recession and its lingering after-effects have influenced the way marketers promote goods and services. Discounting, formally known in marketing as Sales Promotion, has always been a tried and true way to elicit a response, usually resulting in a sale. But just as is the case with addictive behavior, consumers require larger discounts and in greater frequency to have the desired effect. Indeed we become "de-sensitized" to promotions because their overuse has diluted their effectiveness. I will discuss GroupOn and other "deal-a-day" concepts in a later column. Here I want to highlight some of the back-to-school promotions tech companies are offering to reduce inventories and cross-sell products.

    Since almost 9 out of 10 college students report using a laptop (according to USA Today) and 56% of all laptop sales are generated in June, July and August, it should be no surprise that laptops are heavily promoted during these months. Tablet computers, while growing in popularity, still represent a fraction of overall computer sales. Here are some of the laptop deals reported in today's USA Today:

     

    *Apple offers a $100 gift card to the Mac Apple store with the purchase of a MacBook or Mac desktop. This is a smart strategy because consumers are likely to spend more than the allotted $100 dollars at the Apple store.

    *HP is giving away an Xbox 360 with the purchase of a qualifying PC of over $690 in value. This is interesting because the Xbox profits are primarily generated through sales of the games themselves rather than the hardware. But Xbox is a Microsoft product so there must be some sort of strategic alliance in play.

    *Former market leader Dell is still around and offering the same deal as HP.

     

    It's clearly an opportune time to purchase that new laptop, but a marketer must always question the need for such steep incentives. This isn't some 10% off coupon we are talking about here. These types of promotions seriously reduce profit margins and have other unintended consequences, which will be addressed next week. Can you hypothesize as to what these unintended consequences might be?

  • Verizon Shifts Pricing Strategy

    Don't get too comfortable with your Verizon Wireless service plan.  The company recently announced that it will alter they way it prices data service in a manner that will surely impact the entire industry. Verizon is the largest carrier in the U.S. and, as such, is the market leader. This means that the company wields a lot of power in the supply chain, and so it can dictate terms to its partners and, to some degree, its customers. As such, Verizon has announced that it will discontinue its unlimited data plan offering for new smartphone users (as number-two carrier AT&T did last summer), so it looks like this new development does not yet apply to existing users, folks who may not readily accept dramatic changes to their data plans.

    Why is the company making this move? There are several reasons:

    1. With the introduction of its new 4G high speed network, Verizon expects that data usage among its user base will increase dramatically, and so it makes more sense strategically to charge users for the amount of data they consume rather than the former industry standard, one-size-fits-all approach.

    2. A major competitor has already made this move, has taken the risk, and has blazed the trail for other players in the industry. Usually the market leader is the first to make such a move, so perhaps Veriizon is feeling a bit behind the curve.

    3. If the largest companies in an industry do something, it quickly becomes industry standard. New customers may not have the option of obtaining unlimited data packages from competing carriers.

    4. Because they can. Switching costs are rather high for smartphone users so the company is making a bet that, rather than endure the pain of switching providers, most customers will simply go with the new program.

     

    Discussion Questions:

    1. How will customers react to paying a different amount each month?

    2. Will Verizon continue to offer its unlimited data plan for existing customers when they renew their contracts or will they slowly migrate everyone to the same program?

    3. Will number three carrier Sprint follow suit and drop its unlimited data plan, or will the company use the strategy as a point of differentiation and competitive advantage?

     

     

  • Google Fishes in the "Emerald Sea"

     

    It seemed just like yesterday that global powerhouse Google threw its hat into the social networking ring by introducing Buzz, an alternative to market leader Facebook, deposed champion My Space, and a host of other services. But alas, all of the brand equity inherent in the world's largest search engine and the fact that they have more users than Quaker has oats, weren't enough to lure loyal users away from Facebook. The product fizzled. What happened? Perhaps Google marketing strategists failed to adequately differentiate this new product from competitive offerings, and instead introduced yet another "me-too" alternative in a sea of competition. Perhaps this time it will be different.

    Google+, developed secretly under the code name "Emerald Sea", strives to gain market share in the social networking space by offering a product benefit Facebook has yet to address--the ability for the user to share with small groups rather than an entire universe of friends. Google has an unprecedented existing user base, a huge marketing budget, and what they feel is a good product idea. But will it be enough to draw users away from the established market leader?

    This writer believes that since the much needed technology to link various social networking sites together is not yet widely in use, consumers and their friends are forced to choose one primary site and then stick with it in order to facilitate intergroup communications. Furthermore, there is no reason to believe that Facebook lacks the capability to develop the product benefits found in Google+. Even with Google's dominance in search, it may not be enough to slow the momentum generated by Facebook over the past several years. Search and social media address different needs, and both brands are indeed powerful. However, most observers are at a loss to adequately explain exactly how and why MySpace lost half of its users in a very short period of time. Could the same thing happen to Facebook? This will be a fun one to watch. The link below offers some further insight.

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/235033/google_13_questions_to_ponder.html

  • Welcome to Cengage Learning's Know Now Marketing

    Greetings one and all! On behalf of my colleague, Gregory S. Black, PhD., MBA , I am Darrin C. Duber-Smith, MS, MBA, professor and marketing consultant. We are pleased to be the authors of Cengage Learning's brand new "Know Now" Marketing blog, and welcome you to what promises to be an engaging forum for tackling contemporary marketing issues. Our mission is to blend traditional marketing theory with best practices in current marketing applications. This means that we will discuss what's happening right now, but within an academic context, so that both students and professors, indeed all readers, can participate in a meaningful way.

    Within the framework of a 3-5 times per week posting schedule, the two of us will provide links to relevant articles and other tools where and when appropriate, and will join in the discussion when it will significantly add to its quality. Our individual bios will be posted within the next few weeks, and we plan to hit the ground running after the 4th of July holiday. Enjoy your weeknd and check back with us next week!

    Darrin C. Duber-Smith, MS, MBA     www.GreenMarketing.net

    Gregory S. Black, PhD., MBA